Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Author Talks with Kennedy Vega

I am so excited about today's author chat! Kennedy is a young author from California. She has amazing short stories published on Wattpad. AND she won July's short story writing contest for Book Loot which will be featured in their July book crate (something every book lover should purchase at least once!) Kennedy is a very talented and inspiring author and I look forward to reading future works by Kennedy. Today she shares with us her experience as a young author, her inspirations, her writing, and some tips for other aspiring authors! 

Tell me a little about yourself:

Hi! My name is Kennedy, I’m from southern California. I love reading, writing and watching netflix. Some of my favorite authors are Sarah J Maas, Leigh Bardugo, and Rick Riordan. :)

What inspired you to start writing?

I would have to say that there are two authors who have influenced my writing journey. My love for reading began when I came across the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan and I absolutely devoured those books! That love of reading soon flourished and I began to want to create my own stories and characters just like the ones that I loved so much. That desire to create was in the back of my mind for a while but it wasn’t until I read A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas that I was really inspired to write a story of my own. I remember finishing that book and just being in complete awe. The character development and the plot twists and the world building that Maas was able to create blew my mind. If I could write a book that was half as good as ACOMAF I would be the happiest person in the world!

Tell us a little about the first story you remember writing:

Writing for me is a passion that I only discovered recently so the first story I remember writing is my book The Taborda Chosen, which is a full length novel I’m working on. It’s a fantasy YA novel with some fairytale influence that chronicles the fallout when the royal succession in the kingdom of Arshile is cut off and a normal girl is chosen to become ruler instead of the royal heir. The main protagonist has to deal with her new position in the midst of an invasion from a rival kingdom as the struggle for power reaches a crescendo in this tale of love, deception, and magic.

Are there any teachers that inspire you to write? If so, how?

Absolutely! I have a teacher, Mrs.Parsons, who is so supportive of my writing. She is always so willing to write me letters of rec for writing camps and review my work, whether its for school or for fun.

You've written some short stories on Wattpad, can you tell us about this process and why you use Wattpad? 

First I write out my story on google docs, which I really love because I don’t ever have to worry about losing my work if my computer crashes (one of my biggest fears) and then I upload them to my account on the site. I adore wattpad! It’s so easy to use and I just really love how its formatted. You can add pictures to each chapter and interact with readers and being apart of a community of writers is really refreshing. It’s also very encouraging when people leave comments and critiques, so it definitely helps my writing process to know what readers liked or disliked and motivates me to keep writing.

Where do you get your awesome book covers from?

I make them! I use a website called Canva that is amazing and so simple to use. I definitely recommend it if you ever need to make graphics of any kind.

Can you tell us what are some of the challenges you face in writing a short story? How do you work through these challenges?

For me writing a short story was a little difficult because there were so many elements about the relationship between Hades and Persephone that I wanted to explore and show my readers, but because of the word limit I had to leave some of those details out. In order to work through that challenge I had to focus on the main plot points and make sure that every detail I wrote about was crucial to the plot and the character development. But I’m actually working on making Blossom of Ash into a full length novel so I can include all the elements and twists and turns that I had to leave out of the short story version. :)

What things have you read that have especially helped with your writing?

Anything and everything Sarah J Maas has written! Hahaha, I just am so in love with her work and the depth and complexity of her plot lines and the character development has really influenced my writing. Every time I sit down and begin a new project or story I think “What would Sarah J Maas do?”

How do you balance between schoolwork, writing, and social life?

During the school year I’m super super busy so I try to write on the weekends but sometimes that doesn’t work out. I’m hoping to get a lot of writing done this summer to make up for it, but of course there’s summer homework and whatnot that always seems to get in the way.

What do your friends say about your writing habit?

They actually don't think much of it :) . Most of my friends don’t share my love of reading so they are sometimes baffled about why I always seem to have a book in my hand or why I want to make stories of my own.

What are your future plans?

I’m really hoping to finish my first story The Taborda Chosen (which is available on wattpad) and turn Blossom of Ash into a full length novel. Once I finish those ( hopefully soon ) and get some feedback from Beta readers, I plan to upload both manuscripts to Swoon Reads which is an imprint of Macmillan Publishing for the chance to get them published. If that doesn’t pan out I’ll probably send out query letters to agents and go the more traditional route as I try to get my novels published.

Do you have any tips for other aspiring authors?

Write! I know that sounds silly and redundant but for the longest time, I was really afraid to actually write about the ideas and characters floating around my head. I was scared that what I wrote down would never be as good as I wanted it to be. So, my advice is write! Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back and just put your ideas down on paper even if they may not initially live up to your expectations, because you can always revise later! Also, seek out people who can provide you with constructive criticism, they can provide a clear opinion and help make your writing even better. :)

How many stories have you written?

I’ve written two, The Taborda Chosen which I mentioned earlier and Blossom of Ash. I have lots of other ideas for projects in mind, but for the moment I’m focused on finishing the Taborda Chosen and making Blossom of Ash into a full length novel. :)

What do you love about writing short stories?

I love writing short stories because they are short and sweet! You are able to explore a set of characters and ideas and finish the story much faster than a full length book.

Can you tell us about your experience with your most recent publication with Book Loot? How did you manage to write a story in such a short amount of time for the deadline?

I had so much fun working with BookLoot! Eugene and Sara were so kind and very helpful with the submission process. I was able to write the story in the time frame because I had the idea for a Hades and Persephone retelling floating around in my head for a while, so it was just a matter of executing. By creating a basic outline of where I wanted my story I was able to write it within the time frame.

I know the story with Book Loot is themed based, but what else inspired you to write this story?

I grew up with the Percy Jackson series and so I’ve always loved greek mythology. I thought that it would be really fun to do a retelling of Hades and Persephone because in the myths he’s represented as a more neutral figure and not the gloom and doom death god that pop culture tends to portray him as. So I thought it would be fun to do a new spin on his persona. :)

Can you share with us an excerpt from one of your stories? 

Sure! Here’s a link to my wattpad account where you can read all my stories

More About Kennedy Vega:

Kennedy Vega is a teen author from sunny southern California where she currently attends high school. Introduced to the power of the written word in the fourth grade, Kennedy has gone on to pursue an insatiable love for reading that baffles her parents at times. Much to her mother’s dismay, Kennedy can often be found in her room hunched over her laptop, furiously scrolling through Pinterest or buried in her to be read pile which has, if she’s being honest, turned into a mountain whose height is rivaled by only Mount Everest itself. Creating worlds, characters, and plot lines that connect and engage readers is Kennedy’s true passion and she hopes to major in creative writing when she goes to college in the future.

Some of her favorite authors include Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, Rick Riordan and so many more! Kennedy loves YA books of any genre but she definitely has a soft spot for fantasy and paranormal novels. To read more of her stories visit her wattpad account, @KVega3, and if you ever want to chat about books be sure to follow her instagram account, @januaryrabbit.

Author Links:

Be sure to check out Kennedy's awesome short stories! Thanks everyone for stopping by!

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